Project Profile: Binary Metal Chalcogenides for High Temperature Thermal Storage (SuNLaMP)

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Funding Program: SuNLaMP
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
SunShot Award Amount: $3,450,000

Under this project, researchers are developing a thermochemical energy storage system that uses binary metal chalcogenides in a modular reactor operating at temperatures of at least 750°C. The proposed chemical cycle stores energy through the heat-driven decomposition of a metal chalcogenide and releases energy by recombining the chemical elements. Because of the cycle’s high energy density, this material holds promise for low-cost, high-temperature thermal energy storage.

Approach

The research team is developing the chemical composition and key thermodynamic information including phase behavior, heat capacities, fluid properties, and ability to shift the thermodynamic equilibrium. The team is also focusing on the chemical and thermal dynamics of these systems, recombination of the elemental components to form the metal sulfide, and the reaction kinetics. The final stage includes fabrication and testing of the modular reactor.

Innovation

This project will create a self-contained, modular thermal storage system designed to be run as a liquid-phase pressure swing absorption reactor utilizing a heat pipe system to control the input and extraction of thermal energy. The engineered system requires very simple material handling unit operations and high exegetic and thermodynamic efficiency. The heat pipe enables this reactor to operate with very high exegetic efficiency while using an integrated recuperator system, which enables very high thermodynamic efficiency.